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Congress demands answers from Harvard and Pritzker on antisemitism

A House committee is requesting a trove of documents from Harvard University officials including Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker as it continues its investigation into antisemitism at the Ivy League school.

The wide-ranging request sent by the same committee which last month called on then-President Claudine Gay to testify is now giving Harvard just two weeks to fork over all documents related to Jewish students and antisemitism on campus.

The nine-page letter signed by Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, and sent to Pritzker and Interim President Alan Garber on Tuesday, said members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce express “grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of Harvard’s response to the antisemitism on campus,” and demand answers.

Despite Gay announcing last week she would resign, “Harvard’s institutional failures regarding antisemitism extend well beyond one leader,” according to the letter, a copy of which was seen by The Post.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is giving Harvard officials two weeks to hand over a trove of documents as part of its investigation into antisemitism on campus. REUTERS

Foxx cited several instances in which conservatives were disinvited from speaking on campus or had their courses removed as she took aim at Gay’s previous assertion that the context matters in determining whether calls for the genocide of Jews violate university policy.

“Harvard’s dismal record on free speech exposes the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of its leadership’s rationalization for its inaction towards antisemitism on campus.”

She also referenced a report about the 2021-22 school year from the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that documents antisemitism on campus.

It found that among the 109 universities it surveyed, Harvard had the highest rate of threats to Jewish identity.

“There is evidence antisemitism has been pervasive at Harvard since well before the Oct. 7, 2023 terrorist attack,” she wrote.

Members of the committee expressed “grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of Harvard’s response to the antisemitism on campus.” CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The committee is now seeking more than two dozen different categories of information from the university, including internal emails and text messages between board members, proof that students and staff faced disciplinary actions for the harassment of Jewish students and funding documents — especially those that show donations from Qatari sources.

The committee is also asking for any and all reports of allegations of hate crimes that disrupted access to safe learning environments, as well as data showing Jewish enrollment numbers at the university and graduate and professional schools since 2003.

It is also seeking documents related to any attempt by university officials “to understand the reason for any such changes or trends” in the enrollment data, including communications from the school’s Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging related to Jews and antisemitism.

The committee is even seeking the minutes from the Harvard Corporation and Board of Overseers meetings, as well as posts by Harvard students and faculty targeting Jews on social media.

In a statement to The Post, Harvard a university spokesperson said: “The University is reviewing Chairwoman Foxx’s letter and will be in touch with the Committee regarding their request.”

The university has been plagued by reports of antisemitism, which grew worse when then President Claudine Gay refused to say that anyone calling for the genocide of Jews at Harvard would be punished at a Congressional hearing. REUTERS

The university has been plagued by reports of pervasive antisemitism on campus after Hamas launched its shock attack on Oct. 7.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, more than 30 Harvard student groups published a letter holding Israel “entirely responsible” for Hamas’ terror attack — a letter university leadership did not condemn.

While under Gay’s tenure, a Jewish student had been surrounded by pro-Palestinian supporters who yelled “shame” at him while he was walking to class, and the campus saw a doxxing truck drive through with students faces on it who blamed Israel for Hamas attack.

Matters only grew worse when then-President Gay refused to say that anyone calling for the genocide of Jews at Harvard would be punished at a Congressional hearing.

“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate your university’s code of conduct on bullying or harassment?” New York Rep. Elise Stefanik asked Gay at the hearing.

“It depends on the context,” the academic replied.

Following her resignation, Gay called the exchange a “well-laid trap” in an op-ed published in The New York Times. New York Times

Following her resignation, Gay called the exchange a “well-laid trap” in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

“Yes, I made mistakes. In my initial response to the atrocities of Oct. 7, I should have stated more forcefully what all people of good conscience know: Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to eradicate the Jewish state,” Gay wrote.

“And at a congressional hearing last month, I fell into a well-laid trap. I neglected to clearly articulate that calls for the genocide of Jewish people are abhorrent and unacceptable and that I would use every tool at my disposal to protect students from that kind of hate.”

Gay has had the shortest tenure as president at Harvard, serving just six months and one day. She was the first black leader at the nation’s most prestigious university.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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